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  • NYS Writers Institute

Event: A Tribute to Russell Banks on Wednesday, July 19


Event: Remembering Russell Banks

A tribute to the late Russell Banks will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, at Skidmore College, one of the final events of the New York State Summer Writers Institute.


The event will feature a number of guest writers who were friends with Russell and influenced by his writing, including Joyce Carol Oates, Nicholas Delbanco, Tom Healy, Adam Braver and Robert Boyers.


Remembering Russell Banks

8 p.m. Wednesday, July 19

Payne Room, Tang Museum, Skidmore College

Free and open to the public.


An outpouring of grief followed Russell's passing on January 8 at his home in Saratoga Springs. The New York Times captured his essence with the headline for his obituary, Russell Banks, Novelist Steeped in the Working Class, Dies at 82. Reporter Rebecca Chace wrote: "The prolific author of 21 works of fiction and nonfiction, Mr. Banks brought his own blue-collar background to bear in his writing, delving into the psychological pressure of life in economically depressed towns in the Northeast, their stark reality often shadowed by the majestic Adirondacks of northern New York State."


Russell was a frequent guest of the NYS Writers Institute, official New York State Author from 2004 to 2008, and a longtime friend of our founder William Kennedy.


"Russell Banks was a writer of consequence. He also was a major human being," Kennedy told the Times Union. "His books have changed the minds of people who change the world, which was his purpose in writing them. He was a writer of force and deliberation, and his work stands as an article of faith in the significance of literature. That his voice is now silent is beyond sadness."

New York State Summer Writers Institute

Readings and talks are free and open to the public.

Except where noted, the readings begin at 8 p.m. at

Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall

Skidmore College

815 North Broadway in Saratoga Springs

Phone: 518-580-5593


Wednesday, July 19:

Remembering Russell Banks

Joyce Carol Oates, Nicholas Delbanco (It is Enough; What Remains), Tom Healy (What the Right Hand Knows; Velvet; Animal Spirits), Adam Braver and Robert Boyers.

Payne Room, Tang Museum, Skidmore College


Thursday, July 20:

Update: Marilynne Robinson (Gilead; Housekeeping) and poet Henri Cole (Blizzard: Poems, Nothing To Declare) Note: Jamaica Kincaid was originally scheduled to read at this event.


Friday, July 21:

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and NYS Writers Institute founder William Kennedy and novelist-memoirist Danzy Senna (Caucasia; Where Did You Sleep Last Night)


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